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Maureya Lebowitz
photo by David Cooper

Maureya Lebowitz



Jewish Federation of Winnipeg’s Mission to Israel joined by RWB is SOLD OUT.

by Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng. September 27, 2010

Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) will be performing in Israel and Jordan this month. The RWB is also partnering with The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, which purposely planned its Mission to Israel trip 2010 to coincide with the RWB's tour to the country.

"The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg’s Mission to Israel from October 9 - 21, 2010 is sold out," says Elaine Goldstine, Director, Financial Resource Development for the Federation. 

“We have 41 participants,” she adds.

The Premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger; the leader of the opposition, Hugh McFayden; the Minister of Innovation, Energy, and Mines, Dave Chomiak; the Minister of Water Stewardship, Christine Melnick; Gerald Hawranik, PC MLA  for Lac Du Bonnet; Tannis Mindel, Secretary to the Treasury Board, and Martin Morantz, Conservative Candidate for River Heights  are all attending.

“In 1975 the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was the first Canadian ballet company to perform in Israel. We are thrilled to return during our 70th Anniversary (in 2010)”, Jacques Marcoux, Publicity Manager for the RWB told the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

After performing in Israel, the RWB will be travelling to Amman Jordan for one performance there.

“The RWB has never been to Jordan before. The RWB is the first Canadian Ballet Company to perform in Jordan,” Marcoux wrote in an email to the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

According to Marcoux, the genesis of this unique tour idea began when “following a performance in Ottawa, the (Canadian) Ambassador to Israel, Jon Allen,  expressed interest in having the RWB perform in Israel.”

Goldstine explained that after Jon Allen invited the ballet to perform in Israel “they (the RWB) then contacted the Federation and asked that we plan our fall mission around the touring ballet (while they are in Israel).”

Members of the RWB Company are expected to join the Mission in selected touring events in Israel for the first two days before their rehearsals begin.

While in Israel, the RWB will perform Mauricio Wainrot’s powerful Carmina Burana and Peter Quanz’s In Tandem in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and in Haifa.

According to Marcoux, there will be three performances in Tel-Aviv, two in Jerusalem, and two in Haifa.

One of th enotable  ballet dancers on the upcoming trip to Israel is 20 year old  Maureya Lebowitz, a  member of  Winnipeg’s Jewish community who moved to the city at age five, and joined  RWB  in 2008 as an apprentice.  She performed the role of Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet at age 18, the youngest dancer in RWB history to do so. As part of the British Monarchy’s Royal visit to Canada this July, Lebowitz performed a pas de deux with fellow RWB dancer Dmitri Dovgoselets under the watchful eye of Queen Elizabeth II. Leibowitz has already visited Israel before on a “Taglit-Birthright trip” about a year and a half ago.

“The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg is pleased to partner with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The trip will be an experience of a lifetime, and what a thrill watching an RWB performance in Israel,” said Bob Freedman, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, who will be a participant of the mission.

Chairs of the Mission to Israel are prominent community leaders Mel and Karyn Lazarek.

When asked by the Winnipeg Jewish Review how many members of the ballet will be going on the tour, Marcoux replied, “Approximately 50 members of the RWB including 27 dancers.” He also noted that the RWB has been in contact with the Israel Ballet Company, and “we are looking forward to connecting with them while there.”

Following its performances is Israel and its performance in Jordan, the RWB will also perform in Bratislava, Slovakia andPrague in the Czech Republic, as well. There will be one performance each in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic.

When asked whether the RWB made any attempt to set up performances in the Palestinian territories, such as Ramallah, Marcoux answered, “There were some initial discussions that occurred regarding potentially performing in Palestine, however due to scheduling constraints and a later than ideal start on discussions, plans for this have been postponed for the time being. The RWB is definitely open to the idea of performing in Palestine at some point in the future.”

According to RWB’s website, RWB’s tour is being sponsored by the Asper Foundation and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba []

]. Marcoux confirmed that “both are providing funding toward the tour.” He added that “Our other major funders include the Province of Manitoba, the Canada Council for the Arts, and a number of private and corporate donors and sponsors.”

On May 27, Premier Greg Selinger announced a commitment of $150,000 from the Province of Manitoba to help defray the costs of the month-long tour for the RWB. In a statement on May 27, the RWB also acknowledged the generous support of Gerald W. Schwartz and Onex Corporation, Avie Arenson, Morley and Marjorie Blankstein, Susan Glass and Arni Thornsteinson, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, Rubin and Faige Zimmerman, The Gray Family and Gail Asper.

As North America’s most toured international ballet company, the RWB has performed in over 573 cities and towns in 44 countries.

Participants in the Jewish Federation Mission will receive tickets to the RWB’s opening night performance at the Tel Aviv Opera House.

Maureya Lebowitz was born in Malibu, California and grew up in Darby, Montana. She began training at the RWB School Professional Division in 2001 and graduated with distinction in 2007. Lebowitz made her professional debut in 2001 when she played Dieter in the RWB’s Nutcracker and in 2003 she was Young Clara. Last season, Lebowitz performed in the classic Swan Lake and Nutcracker, Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story and played the lead role of Nathalie in the world premier of Moulin Rouge – the Ballet. For more information about her go to her website at

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